With Christmas Eve falling on Saturday this year, businesses across Wales are excitedly preparing to head out on the town for the annual Christmas Party on the last working day of the year.
But while employees may be more than ready to begin the celebrations this December, business owners and managers may be a little more apprehensive.
Staff drinking excessively, acting inappropriately, and putting themselves at risk are among the greatest concerns for businesses this festive season.
So with party season in full swing, Catherine Almeida, Senior Associate Solicitor in the Employment and HR team at JCP Solicitors, shares five ways to safeguard your staff and your business’s reputation this festive season.
Set expectations in advance
Employers are ultimately legally responsible for what happens at an officially organised staff Christmas party and any official celebrations organised for Christmas Eve.
Therefore, the safety of your staff and protecting your company’s reputation during the night out is your responsibility.
You should ensure that all staff are reminded ahead of the night out that their conduct reflects the workplace, and as such any inappropriate behaviour will not be welcomed.
Discuss excessive drinking
As with any Christmas party or festive staff night out, staff may want to indulge in a few alcoholic drinks, however it could also be wise to discuss excessive drinking ahead of the party, and caution staff against this.
You could consider sending out an email in advance detailing what behaviour could be deemed unacceptable, and what will not be tolerated or could be dangerous – such as excessive drinking.
This way you have clearly outlined your stance and hopefully minimised any potential safety issues facing staff and any risk to the business.
Caution against social media posting
Social media use when drinking should also be discussed in advance of the party or Christmas Eve night out to ensure staff don’t post anything that could damage the company’s reputation.
This is particularly relevant if staff have responsibility for the business’s official social media accounts, or a client’s account, and could potentially post something offensive by mistake.
Again, it could be wise to send an email in advance of the night out warning against any posts which could harm the business’s reputation, and add additional worry for the employee.
Distance yourself from the afterparty
As an employer it’s also wise to distance yourself from any unofficial afterparties – make it clear that any venues staff may attend after the official party are not linked to your company celebration.
This will help to safeguard you against any potential issues which arise after the office party ends. You have also clearly outlined to staff where your responsibilities as an employer end during the evening.
Help staff get home safely
If the party is taking place beyond walking distance from the office, we would suggest providing transport for staff to ensure they can get home safely.
Whether you arrange taxis at a set time during the night, a mini bus, or provide alternative transport, you will have fulfilled your responsibility to your staff to ensure they can enjoy the evening without worrying about travel.
Alternatively, the evening could finish in time for staff to access public transport and you could provide timetables.
For further Employment and HR advice call Catherine Almeida at JCP Solicitors on 02920 860628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.